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Region’s MPs react to British air strikes in Syria

PUBLISHED: 08:40 15 April 2018 | UPDATED: 08:40 15 April 2018

Damascus is seen as the U.S. launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the capital.  Picture: AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

Damascus is seen as the U.S. launches an attack on Syria targeting different parts of the capital. Picture: AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

The British air strikes against Syria has provoked a mixed reaction from our region’s MPs.

A series of missile strikes were launched at 2am UK time today by the US, UK and France in response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in the country.

The Prime Minister insisted that joining the bombing campaign was the “right thing for us to do” in the wake of the “harrowing” assault on Douma.

MORE: Four RAF Tornados joined the strikes against Syria

Theresa May has faced both support and criticism from MPs across Norfolk and Suffolk.

A RAF Tornado taxis into its hangar at RAF Akrotiri after conducting strikes in support of Operations over the Middle East.  Photo: Cpl L Matthews/PA WireA RAF Tornado taxis into its hangar at RAF Akrotiri after conducting strikes in support of Operations over the Middle East. Photo: Cpl L Matthews/PA Wire

North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham said the Prime Minister faced a difficult decision and that a vote in Parliament was not necessary.

He said: “I am extremely cautious, given the Russian involvement in Syria there is a strong chance of escalation.
“But the action has now been taken and, in my own view, it was a very difficult action to take. 
“A red line had been cross with the use of chemical weapons, and these weapons are absolutely abhorrent and illegal under international law.

“I hope it was a one-off strike. We haven’t seen how much damage has been done. 
“I just hope that there isn’t going to be any escalation but it does send a very strong signal. It’s measured and reasoned, to reduce the prospect of the situation becoming more inflamed.
“I have always taken the view it’s not always necessary for Parliament to vote on action of this kind. This is military action which needs to be taken quickly in conjunction with allies.”

Norwich North MP Chloe Smith said she supported the action in Syria, adding: “I think the Prime Minister has taken the right judgement call.

“I think it’s correct that we should play our part in stopping the use of chemical weapons becoming normalised. As the Prime Minister said - whether that’s in Syria or on the streets of our own country.

“By standing up for that I would hope we can reduce terrible suffering and deaths. The allies overnight have done this in a proportionate and targeted way.”

The North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham. Picture: Matthew Usher.The North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Brandon Lewis, MP for Great Yarmouth, showed his support to the Prime Minister on Twitter. He said: “Today @theresa_may has set out clear, specific & appropriate objective for military action. Degrading & deterring ability of Syrian regime to use chemical weapons is right thing to do.”

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss also took to Twitter to show her support, stating: “The Prime Minister is right to take action with our international allies in Syria.

“It is also right that this should be an executive decision rather than a vote in Parliament. We must do all we can to stop the scourge of chemical weapons.”

Chloe Smith. Pic: Eliza Boo PhotographyChloe Smith. Pic: Eliza Boo Photography

But Norwich South Labour MP Clive Lewis said Theresa May should have sought parliamentary approval and that she should not have “not trailed after Donald Trump, one of the most unstable presidents in US history.”

He added: “The government should do whatever possible to push Russia and the United States to agree to an independent UN-led investigation of last weekend’s horrific chemical weapons attack so that those responsible can be held to account.

“Yet again, it seems the valuable lessons of Chilcot have been ignored barely before the ink has dried.”

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. Picture: Yui MokNorwich South MP Clive Lewis. Picture: Yui Mok

Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: “I do support the targeted air strikes. The use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and it is appropriate to take such action in collaboration with our allies to alleviate further humanitarian suffering.”

On the topic of whether Parliament should have been recalled, he said: “In this particular case with these very limited strikes which were very carefully targeted I think that she (May) was right to have taken the action she did.”

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